So what is the big deal with posture? Well, let’s face it, we spend countless of hours staring down at our “screens”. If it isn’t the screen of our digital device, it’s our laptop or computer screen at work, or it might be the TV screen when we get home. All these excessive “screen time” is causing us lead a sedentary lifestyle. Our daily use of these modern technology with all its usefulness is not only altering our lifestyles, it is subtly ruining our posture and negatively impacting our overall health.
Our Digital Addiction
As reported in one of Malaysia’s daily newspaper a couple of years back, Malaysians spend an average of up to 12 hours a day on their digital devices. It doesn’t help that because of our addiction to our digital devices, it’s taking up precious time on healthier pursuits like exploring the outdoors or staying physically active. Our addiction to our devices aren’t helping our already sedentary life. According to AIA’s Health Living Index, Malaysians do generally want to get healthier but need the right guidance. As chiropractors and rehab specialists, the best start as you begin to take control of your health, is to be more aware and conscious of your everyday posture.
Over here at Spinefit, we have seen many complaints of low back pain, tightness in the neck, pain in the shoulders or arms/wrists as a result of their work. With their constant use of their digital devices (also see “text-neck syndrome”) and their poor posture hunched over their laptops or keyboards for long periods, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, it isn’t surprising that so many desk-bound individuals are coming in with the complaints mentioned earlier. Over time, they would’ve developed poor posture and can lead to discomfort and injury.
Posture At Work
Poor posture can also be a result of either weak core muscles (inability to support the torso) or tight muscles. Having little or no physical activity to address these weak/tight muscles coupled with long hours at work may eventually take a toll on the body’s overall health and wellness. Since there are a large number of us in the workforce that constantly work in front of a computer and are desk-bound, we will highlight some areas where you can make immediate corrections on to ensure you have an improved posture at work.
When you hunch over your computer at work, either as a direct result of the incorrect chair or desk height, you find yourself having a sore neck or tight shoulders due to the prolonged awkward angle. This is an all too common scenario that’s confirmed when we meet with employees during our health talks with corporate companies where many of them have desk-bound roles.
What’s the best posture at work?
To correct your sitting posture if you have a desk-bound role:
- Make sure that you’re seated with your shoulders relaxed
- Elbows at a 90 degree angle
- Forearms parallel to the ground (this is so the shoulders don’t shrug up)
- Feet comfortably on the floor
- Sit all the way into your office chair for a good low back support
Most office chairs have adjustable seat heights and have good seating depth, so find the right settings that works for you. Alternatively, a small investment into an external keyboard and mouse (for laptop users) could significantly help with your sitting posture at your work desk. It’s also a good recommendation to have the laptop screen or monitor positioned parallel to your eyes so that it doesn’t place a strain on your neck.
Once you’ve made changes to your work desk, it’s now time to get up and move! When you’re in a desk-bound role, you often find yourself seated in the same position for long periods of time. Whether you’re working on a report, slide presentation, proposal or busy replying emails, you find yourself sitting again; in a meeting.
Sitting actually adds large amounts of pressure to the structures in our backs especially the spinal discs and back muscles. Poor sitting posture (“slouching”) can cause a lot of strain on these spinal structures and sitting with your legs crossed would alter your pelvic alignment. Ideally, it is recommended to get up and move around every 30 minutes and whenever possible, stand and regularly stretch out those tight muscles. We understand that during certain periods, it can get very intense at work and finding moments of rest in-between those busy seasons might seem far-fetched. During those periods, you might have to be intentional to just get up and move every so often to stretch out your tired muscles.
With every passing year, medical cost is on the rise and with that, healthier lifestyle choices need to be made. As both chiropractors and rehab specialists, making sure you have a good posture is a big deal to us because we want you to lead a healthy life. When you maintain the right posture, it will also make you look more confident, regulate your breathing and improve the body’s blood circulation, digestion and last but not least, the overall spinal structure!
If you’d like to know how good or bad your posture is or if you’re experiencing similar conditions to what was mentioned earlier, book your initial consultation appointment with us and we will also include a complimentary digital posture screening assessment. For our existing Practice Members, just ask your practitioner to conduct the assessment on your next visit if you haven’t done so.